Video Rewind: An Extra Mystery Solved
I've seen the original The Poseidon Adventure hundreds of times and never really thought twice about the scene where Arthur O'Connell is tending to the catatonic passenger after the ship has overturned. Afterall, why would I? And you've probably thought the same.
But, one day a couple of years ago, I came across a website (neptsdepths.blogspot.com) while on another website. After exploring it there was a blog identifying the injured passenger and to my surprise, it had been someone I'd been looking for, for years.
Leoda Richards may not be a household name, but you've seen her in a ton of movies. And what makes her appearance in The Poseidon Adventure she fooled the masses of movie goers. I'm not sure who discovered it was her, but, it was good to place a name to the face.
In the few years that her identity was revealed, she's been "spotted" in many movies and her IMDB page uncredited parts have been growing.
Having seen her in so many movies, I had asked a question on the Futureworld message board because there she was as an audience member at the game show in the opening of the movie. No one responded so I thought I'd never find the answer.
In fact, I had interviewed Cindy Williams once and as I was leaving I was tempted to go back and ask her if she knew who "the extra with shocking white hair" was. After thinking it over, I decided not to since I took up too much of her time and really, stars don't necessarily socialize with background actors. Richards is a frequent extra on Laverne and Shirley.
I've found her in an episode of Run for Your Life and I was floored when I spotted her in the 1957 I Love Lucy episode Lucy's Night in Town as a theatre goer. Yes, her hair was white then too! That's how I knew it was her.
Having a name to go with the face, I've contributed to her IMDB page on a few occasions when I've spotted her in A Star Is Born (1954) as a party guest at Norman Maine's Malibu home, The Towering Inferno as a party guest (if you look for her, she's barely seen at one of the first tables to your right when William Holden announces the evacuation). It's interesting too, because when I spotted her, she was with Bun Lady (a name of another extra from The Poseidon Adventure) who's famous for her huge hairdo.
I've also found her in Lipstick as a courtroom spectator, the aforementioned Futureworld and most recently in American Gigolo as a diner at Perino's and also as the lady who comes into the bathroom. Ironically, she and I could be linked through Richard Gere since I worked as an extra on the 2011 film The Double.
For me, Richards is my hero. To have worked in an industry she obviously loved and now it appears that she's becoming a cult icon in popular culture.
While she's worked in so many television episodes and movies, I still get excited when I find her in something and then rush to IMDB to see if that uncredited performance has been listed.
When I grow up, I hope to be just like her!